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No more secondhand military equipment in his time, says Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – If his predecessor accepted secondhand warships from the United States, President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to acquire only brand new military equipment during his term.

"During my time, wala na akong secondhand na mga barko barko (I won't have secondhand ships). It has to be brand new," said Duterte on Friday, June 2, during a speech in front of soldiers of the Philippine Army's 102nd Infantry Brigade in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Duterte was giving assurances to soldiers that they would have the "best equipment" to aid them in the fight against terrorism, especially given the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

"I will no longer accept equipment for the military which are secondhand. Those given by Americans, I don't want them," said the President.

He is willing to "spend double the money" on equipment, as long as they are new. 

Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, accepted the US' offer of 3 secondhand warships. The 3 former US Coast Guard vessels were given the names BRP Andres Bonifacio, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, and BRP Gregorio del Pilar

They are the most capable warships of the Philippine Navy so far. The last of these ships, BRP Andres Bonifacio, arrived in the Philippines in December 2016, during Duterte's term.

Duterte reiterated his support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization program.

He also promised a government "trust fund" to help soldiers pay for the education of their children, his way of showing appreciation for their service.

"If I can have a P50-billion trust fund just for education of your children, even if you fight or you are somewhere else in this universe, their education is taken cared of," he told soldiers.

Some P20 billion of this promised trust fund has already been put together, he said. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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